Kelowna mayor not surprised by mill shutdown

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran says he is not surprised by today's announcement that Tolko is permanently shutting down its Kelowna mill.

Basran says the closure is concerning, but not only on a local level.

"I think provincially it's a concern," says Basran. "When you look at what's happening to our forest industry, the number of people who are being impacted by the job losses. It's concerning, yes, but it goes beyond the City of Kelowna."

Friday's announcement by Tolko is just the latest in a string of large industries that have left the city over the years.

Those include Western Star Trucks, Crown Packaging and Hiram Walker.

Basran says the Tolko shutdown isn't necessarily a wake-up call, but more of a reminder that the city needs to continue to diversify the types of industry and business it attracts.

"I think that's something we've been cognizant of for a really long time. You've seen with the growth of the tech sector and other things that we want to diversify our economy. I would say our economy is probably more diversified than it's ever been."

As for what may become of the property, Basran says it's way too early to speculate.

He adds he doesn't even know if the property and equipment are for sale yet.

— Wayne Moore, Castanet

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